Experienced practitioners from diverse organisations came together to discuss threatened species monitoring at the workshop entitled ‘Enhancing Monitoring
for Threatened Species to Improve Conservation Outcomes.’
Government, NGO, community group and university representatives presented case studies, the insights from which helped shape lively discussion around the decisions, processes and challenges of threatened species monitoring.
Participants unanimously agreed that monitoring is an essential part of threatened species recovery; however, they asked why threatened species monitoring is rarely carried out, and why, when it is carried out, is it rarely effective in terms of positively affecting conservation outcomes?
Discussion revolved around solutions to this problem, including the potential for new technologies (drones, thermal cameras) to aid with monitoring design, the value of citizen science, and the contribution of Indigenous groups to threatened species monitoring.
One of the insights from the workshop was the need to include people at all stages of monitoring design and application. Hub researcher, Natasha Robinson, from the Australian National University observed that “to improve threatened species conservation we need people to engage with and value threatened species monitoring.”
“Practitioners need to demonstrate the value of on-going monitoring through reporting on our successes (and failures), and to engage with a broad range of people – from community, to land managers, to Indigenous people, to funding bodies and government.
“Without support from these different groups, monitoring is at risk of not being integrated into decision making and on ground management, and therefore not contributing to positive conservation outcomes.”
On-ground threatened species conservation will be assisted by practical guidelines - under development as part of this project - that aim to enhance the effectiveness of threatened species monitoring. See more information.
Image: Long-term monitoring of threatened species comes with its challenges (image supplied by Natasha Robinson)
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program expresses our sympathy to everyone whose life has been impacted by these horrific fires, and acknowledges the heartbreak of families who have lost everything, including loved ones.
Many landscapes in Australia are fire-prone, and increasingly so. Altered fire regimes can have a serious negative impact on threatened plant species and ecological communities. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project is working to better understand the effects of different fire regimes on threatened flora in order to improve fire management strategies and conservation outcomes.
Almost a quarter of Australia’s possums and gliders are listed as threatened under Australian environmental law, and many more are showing signs of decline. Dr Rochelle Steven from The University of Queensland believes people in the community can do a lot to support conservation, especially in urban areas.
The detection and monitoring of threatened species have been a strong area of research in the National Environmental Science Program and also the two national environmental research programs which preceded it. Hub Director Professor Brendan Wintle takes a look at what we’ve been achieving and why it is so important to the conservation of Australia’s threatened species.
In 2009, the Christmas Island blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko were headed for imminent extinction. Parks Australia acted quickly to collect remaining wild individuals in order to establish captive breeding programs on Christmas Island and at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, which have been highly successful. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project team is working closely with Parks Australia to help secure a future for the two lizards beyond captivity.